Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Jet says proposed alignment has flaws

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BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Jets defenceman Ron Hainsey declared on Saturday that the game is afoot regarding a new collective bargaining agreement between the NHL and the NHLPA.

The current labour agreement expires Sept. 15.

The Jets' NHLPA representative said the players have taken issue with the fairness of the proposed realignment which was approved by the NHL's board of governors in December. It was a plan, at the time, that generated widespread praise from players and fans alike.

Hainsey said travel for western teams and Winnipeg could potentially be worse with the new plan.

"The travel, from the limited stuff we got, could be potentially worse for some western teams, including Winnipeg," he said. "Without knowing, and it's late in the game, it's obviously hard to come up with a full schedule on a month's notice. Without knowing what that looked like, it's hard to consent or not consent when the potential is there for worse travel."

The Jets' rep was asked Saturday if there was anything in the realignment plan that the players liked.

"That's hard to say," he said. "The playoff format and the travel would seem to be the two biggest issues with the plan. The reports this morning are that we blocked it, that's incorrect.

"We didn't block it. We asked to continue to meet. That's not blocking. There's some stuff... the players liked the idea of home-and-homes every year. But within a reasonable situation as far as the travel and the overnights, stuff like that.

"We didn't block it. We asked for some clarifications, some sample schedules, stuff like that."

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 8, 2012 B2

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